Abingdon Works Car Show – Sunday 6th May 2012

The Annual Works Centre Car Show saw its 7th running this year in conjunction with the 13th Abingdon Air and Country Show. The date was the 6th of  May and over the years we have seen sunny weather, rainy weather and cold and windy weather. This year was no exception although the rain was absent on the day. Despite the chill a good number of air show enthusiasts did arrive and park together in our dedicated MG area. Numbers were down this year probably due to the weather conditions that we have experienced over the last month and the usual arena parade of the marque did not take place due to some imposed organisational and safety issues. In spite of all the difficulties experienced this year however the assembled company braved the chilly conditions and stayed to see the flying and ground displays.

In addition to the cars and aeroplanes there were plenty of art and craft stalls, a beer tent and a multitude of traders to tempt people to spend, although I have to say that parting MG owners from their money is a very difficult task.

Finally at 14:00 the flying display started and as usual there were some spectacular demonstrations of flying skill and later some real daredevilry on the wing. The weather improved during the afternoon and although some cloud persisted there was enough sunshine to take the edge off the cold.

The flying programme this year seemed to fit into three sections, firstly there were the WW2 piston engine aircraft led by the Spitfire and Hurricane, an interesting dual display by an Anson and a Dakota and a brilliant display by a P51 Mustang with a Packard built supercharged Merlin engine which for me produces an even more evocative sound than the straight Rolls Royce version.

From the RAF we had some of today’s training jets, the Tucano and the Hawk advanced jet trainer and also an impressive display by an Air King helicopter.

One of the high points in any display is the daring Breitling Wingwalkers, two Boeing Stearman bi-planes built in the 1930s specifically for pilot training and now each carrying a young lady tied to a support on the upper wing waving at the crowd and turning somersaults while the aircraft themselves went through a series of  manoeuvres emitting smoke.

Finally there was a surprise display by a PBY 5A Catalina. This again is an aircraft designed in the 1930s for use on the Canadian lakes and following distinguished service as a wartime submarine hunter is still in use today. They can often be seen scooping up water for fighting forest fires all over the world. Often referred to as a seaplane it is really an amphibian which has the capability of landing on both land and water. The Catalina finished off an interesting flying day by demonstrating all its different landing gear in several flypasts.

Finally I believe the day can be judged as successful although the numbers were down and some of the expected aircraft were missing. Our thanks go to all our MG members who contributed to our donation to the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, those members of the Abingdon Works Centre Committee and volunteers who helped to organise and marshal to make our part of the day a success and as always a special thank you to our sponsor Richard Chapman of Manor Garage Wantage.

Click here for full-size photos

Text: Mike Lamb. Photos: Richard Martin & Malcolm Bailey.

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